The Ultimate, No Nonsense Guide To Effective Broken Linkbuilding

broken linkbuilding

If we could have lots of time, we would be able to accomplish any task without any problems.

Unfortunately, we are always limited with some time framework. That’s why we must choose the way to accomplish our work in the most resultative manner.

Time is everything!

When it comes to linkbuilding, this aspect of time plays a crucial role as well.

Who wants to spend days in front of the computer screen implementing some linkbuilding strategy that works by a finger’s breadth?

Nobody!

Thus, you should focus your attention on the strategy that doesn’t take lots of time, but still works like a charm.

And the strategy I’m talking about is called “Broken Linkbuilding”.

In this guide, I will reveal you a step-by-step process on how to do broken linkbuilding.

Shall we begin?

SIDENOTE: if you want to know some new SEO tips for 2018 and beyond, you should check out this video:

Broken Linkbuilding – What is it?

I believe everyone who is involved in SEO knows what ‘broken” linkbuilding means. The primary goal of this strategy is to search for broken backlinks that your competitors have.

Afterwards, discover the content that reader might read by clicking on this broken link and create the same (or even better) content by yourself.

Lastly, offer your piece of content to a website’s owner in order to replace this broken link with a link to your source.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?

What’s more important, you will do a favor to a website’s owner, pointing to a broken link on his or her website.

It is a win-win deal.

broken linkbuilding

Source

Here is an example of such a link for those who have never stumbled upon one:

It might seem like an ordinary anchor that would redirect you to a particular website’s page. However, when you click on it, you will be redirected to a ‘dead’ page:

There are tons of such links that you would be happy to find and turn into backlinks to your own web sources.

You might be puzzled with the question “How can I get the information about a post that doesn’t exist anymore?

Wayback Machine would be handy in this case. Just put a ‘dead’ link into the tool and it will provide you with the data you need

When you already know the topic of the content that you’re going to replace with your material, it is time to take these steps:

  • Create top-notch content
  • Get in touch with a website’s owner and point to a broken link
  • Offer the website’s owner to replace this broken link with your one

If the scheme seems simple to you, I have some bad news. The thing is that not every website’s owner will accept your suggestion to replace a broken link and let you into the game.

I doubt that well-known gurus in your niche would even review your suggestion. They won’t probably reply to your message at all.

Let’s say you already found a broken backlink, but how do you find all those websites that contain this ‘dead’ link’?

You can do this with the help of different specialized SEO tools. It is up to you which one to use but I prefer Site Explorer tool:

As the image above shows, this broken link has been featured on 19 other sources of information. It is a nice opportunity for you to reach out to the owners of these websites and offer them your piece of content instead.

Once again, a broken linkbuilding strategy might seem challenging to you due to one reason – it is rather difficult to find niche-relevant opportunities that will work for you.

However, if you search for these opportunities correctly, you won’t miss them.

‘Dead Pages’ on the Top Websites

You should start with creating a list of top websites from your niche. I am going to illustrate to you the entire process with an example.

For instance, I am interested in the ‘Sports Nutrition’ field. Thus, it won’t be hard to find my potential leading competitors by using Google search.

Once this is done, I recommend that you create a spreadsheet with a few main competitors in this niche.

When the basic preparation is over, I am going to find the broken links with the help of Broken Link Checker:

This potential competitor has 19 broken links. I will repeat the process for all the competitors on the list.

When I have all the broken backlinks of my potential competitors, I will contact the websites’ owners and notify them about my findings.

If good fortune is with me, I will get those links replaced with mine.

Review the Expired Domains for Broken Linkbuilding Opportunities

This method of broken linkbuilding requires using two services – Expireddomains.net and Batch Analysis.

Expireddomains.net helps you find expired domains that contain backlinks. It works simple. Just put a keyword you are interested in directly into the search bar and hit the “search” button:

The results are pretty solid – there are around 2.7K! But if the number seems too big to you, I recommend to narrow down the results applying some filters:

Afterwards, you should list the results by the number of the backlinks:

These results should be transferred into a Batch Analysis tool. Just click on “copy domain into a clipboard” and reap the benefits:

During the work with the Batch Analysis tool you should choose a “domain with all its subdomains” mode:

Now you can proceed with exploring broken backlinks opportunities.

Scrape Link Pages to Get Broken Links

This way implies working with Google search and a few additional tools along the way. To get things done, you should implement these search parameters:

  • KEYWORD blogs inurl:”resource” intitle:”resources”
  • KEYWORD intitle:”links” inurl:”/links”
  • KEYWORD intitle:“resources”
  • KEYWORD inurl:“links”

For instance:

Subsequently, you should scrape the results you’ve got. You can do it either with ScrapeBox or SERP scraping bookmarklet for Chrome.

The next step is to extract the outbound links. The tool that you need to use here is Screaming Frog. It detects the HTTP status of every outbound link and reveals those ones that have ‘404’ status.

If you can’t afford using Screaming Frog yourself, you can always get this process done with the help of Google sheets – implementing this formula:

=IMPORTXML(“page url”,”//a[not(contains(@href, ‘domain’))]/@href”)

By the end of this process, you should copy/paste these ‘404’ links into the Batch Analysis tool to find broken link opportunities.

Broken Outlinks That Hide Lots of Backlinks

I researched a sports nutrition niche a bit and stumbled upon the website precisionnutrition.com. I decided to explore what broken outgoing links I could find there:

The results are pretty good – 233 pages with broken links. Let’s try to find an opportunity that could bring us a link:

In this very case, I could write a post that would cover some aspects related to Vitamin D. Having a written piece of content, I can get in touch with a blog’s editor of this resource and offer to replace this broken link.

Moreover, I can see what more broken link-building opportunities I could get by analyzing this URL separately:

Plus 89 referring domains that you can explore to find some gems.

Outreach

This is the last step of the entire broken linkbuilding strategy. I will break it up into three stages:

  • Contact the right people only
  • Stick to the point
  • Follow up message

Let’s run through each stage one by one.

1. Contact the right people only

First of all, if you stumble upon some person who is related to your niche, you have already found the right outreach target. However, the biggest challenge here is to find a correct email address.

I personally use tools for finding email addresses. These tools are ContactOut (a Chrome extension that extracts email addresses from LinkedIn), Findthat.email, and Voilanorbert.

But I want to warn you that you should double-check all email addresses with a Chrome extension called LinkedIn Sales Navigator:

What’s more important, you should get in touch with those people who have rights to replace the links on the website.

2. Stick to the point

Your message to a website’s owner regarding a broken link replacement should be short and to the point. No waffling. No long senseless, no introduction. Here is an example:

As you can see, there are five things that you should include in your message, like:

  • The recipient’s name
  • The broken link
  • The broken link location
  • Your suggestion to replace the link
  • An explanation why your piece of content would be a good fit to replace the broken link

3. Follow up message

I am sure that you think that follow up messages might seem disturbing to recipients.

Yes, they are irritating. But when it comes to a broken linkbuilding outreach, you can be sure that your “reminder” regarding a broken link won’t play against you.

Every website owner wants to keep a backlink profile clean. So, your help won’t be treated as some kind of boldness.

Your follow up message should look like a “quick reminder” about your first attempt to contact the recipient:

There is no need to send more than one follow up message. This kind of outreach is based on a mutual gains model. So, if you don’t get a reply for the second email, don’t send any more.

Final Thoughts

I believe this post has proven to you that a broken linkbuilding strategy is truly effective. The only thing you should be armed with is your time and patience.

And always be ready to offer an outstanding and useful piece of content to “repair the web.”

Don’t shy away from sharing this article and/or leaving your comments. 🙂

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Sergey Aliokhin, a Marketing Manager at Ahrefs. Apart from working at Ahrefs, he likes spending his time with family, studying martial arts, and plucking fat bass guitar strings.

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